Some tales are too good to end in tragedy. Consider the case of The Mayan Factor, one of Baltimore’s most respected independent bands, and one with an international audience for its bold and idiosyncratic sound. When beloved lead singer Ray Schuler – known as Ray Ray to the wildly inventive rock group’s devoted fans – died unexpectedly in 2011, few expected the grieving members of The Mayan Project to carry on. The band did indeed go on hiatus in the wake of Ray Ray’s death. But a worldwide legion of fervent Mayan Factor devotees simply would not let the group shift off this mortal coil. On underground message boards and in independent chat rooms, believers in the spirit of progressive rock kept the flame burning, posting reverently about the band’s powerful performances and visceral songwriting, its clever use of Meso-American iconography, and the unquestionable instrumental excellence of its members.
Prompted by this outpouring of love, the surviving members of The Mayan Factor reunited – first to release archival material featuring Ray Ray’s searing performances, and then to create new music. The powerful-voiced Lenny Cerzosie of the fearless hard rock band Le Projet (which includes members of Candlebox and Sevendust) stepped into the vacant spot at the center of the stage, and a new chapter of The Mayan Factor story began. Cerzosie was at the time also touring with NY-based rock band The Infinite Staircase.
The Mayan Factor has grown in stature, reputation, and accomplishment since the early days of the millennium. But even with a new singer, much remains the same: The Mayan Factor continue to create a bewitching, wholly immersive amalgam of Seventies-inspired prog, grunge, metal, and pure experimental music, and bravely address difficult subjects in their poetic lyrics. Today, we’re proud to share the mesmerizing “Warflower”, a song first recorded by the band with Ray Ray back in 2003.
In the disorienting video for “Warflower”, the camera zooms along an urban street at a speed too fast to be a simple viewer’s-eye depiction of a car trip, but too far low to be a plane or a drone. The background is intentionally muted – it’s impossible to read the street signs – and the sudden leaps between roadways and sharp turns on the roads create a sense of encroaching danger. This is a trip through an everywhere and a nowhere: a place of uncertainty, of transience, of potential collisions with the exigencies of the day.